Swiss confectionery sector sets key sustainable sourcing goal

Swiss chocolate manufacturers have set a goal of importing only sustainably grown cocoa into the country, with an interim target of 80% of its supplies to be firmly within this category by 2025, according to Chocosuisse, the national sector association, writes Neill Barston.

According to the organisation, businesses have joined with other industries for the initiative, with the nation reportedly having the highest  per capita consumption of organic and Fairtrade products across a number of categories.

As previously reported by Confectionery Production, the trade association’s call for greater focus on ethical sourcing comes amid a challenging with market uncertainties as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact significantly on European and global markets, with sales down 20% year-on-year in Switzerland.

The country is home to major brands including Toblerone, Nestle, Frey, Laderach, Lindt and Cailler, among others within the premium market segment.

Chocosuisse added that the country’s strong focus on ethical sourcing had been noted by a WWF study of imported raw materials including cocoa, soy, sugar and palm oil,  that found sales of Fairtrade chocolate in particular had increased significantly in recent years. One of its key themes was on the impact of deforestation.

This links direct to new laws within Switzerland that state companies should provide evidence “that the products that you sell in Switzerland do not drive global deforestation and violate human rights.”

The association highlighted that the report also called for engagement with multi-stakeholder initiatives, which Chocosuisse has responded to in creating the Swiss Cocoa Platform offering a key focus on sustainable sourcing. It offers national chocolate manufacturers together with stakeholders from the federal government, trade, research and civil society.

Numerous Swiss companies, and organisations including Chocosuisse are constructively committed to solutions such as the promotion of agroforestry systems. The Swiss platform also cross-border with other organisations. Finally, to reduce land consumption in cocoa cultivation is to improve agricultural practices, which is something that companies in particular are making a significant effort to focus upon.

As the organisation noted, with 70% of chocolate made in Switzerland destined for export markets, the issue must be tackled on an international level. This is notable given that the EU itself imports  60% of world cocoa supplies, so joined-up action on sustainability issues remains of key importance.

 

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